India were quite surprised when they found out that a 19-year-old had been selected to open the innings alongside England’s most capped player Alastair Cook on the first day of first test of the five-match series in Rajkot.
Little did they know that the youngster named Haseeb Hameed will be quite the talk of the town for the next few days.
He batted fluently in the first innings dealing the likes of Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja with ease but just as he looked set to get to a fifty he failed to read a carom ball from India’s star tweaker Ravichandran Ashwin. He was back in the pavilion after scoring a brisk 31.
He was much more assured in the second innings where he looked at the top of his game from the very first ball. Cover drives, some of his flicks off the wrist were a delight to watch as the commentators hailed him as the next big thing in English cricket. He finally was caught and bowled by Amit Mishra 18 runs away from a ton on debut.
Though Haseeb was born in Bolton, Lancashire he has his roots in India. His father hails from Umraj, a village in the state of Gujarat. He had moved to London in 1969. Things would have been so different if he had stayed back. Maybe, Hameed would have played for India someday.
In this article, however, we will look at five English cricketers who were actually born in India but later went onto play for the Three Lions.
1. Douglas Jardine
In 1932 Jardine led a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) side to Australia in what was perhaps the most controversial tour in the history of the game. England clinched four of the five Tests on the tour but their on-field methods had been the talk of the town then. W.Voce and H.Larwood who were the England pace spearheads exploited the leg-theory or what later came to be known as body-line bowling. They would hurl deliveries aimed at the body with a packed leg-side field to which the Australians had no answer.
After the series the Australian board wired strong words to the MCC telling them such tactics can harm the game itself. They also threatened to pull out of the tour in 1934. That very year the MCC issued a ruling banning bodyline.
Jardine, however, defended his tactics saying any harm caused were unintentional. During his 22 Test matches Jardine scored 1296 runs at an average of 48.00. He died aged 57, due to cancer.
2 Robin Jackman
Jackman was born in Shimla on August 13, 1945. He is a notable commentator these days and featured in 4 Test matches and 15 One-Day Internationals for England. His father was posted in Shimla and a year after Jackman was born he lost a leg in a war. The family then moved to England where young Jackman took a liking for the game.
He had a brilliant first-class career with Surrey where he grabbed 1402 wickets from 399 outings. He also had 33 international wickets with best figures of 4/110. The cricketer had his fair share of controversy as well when he chose to play in South Africa—a country which was then isolated internationally because of apartheid. Jackman could have played a little more for England but then again he made his debut at a not so young age of 35. He is now more known for his commentary skills.
3. Bob Woolmer
Woolmer was born in Kanpur on May 14, 1948. His father, Clarence Woolmer was a cricketer too who led the United Provinces, presently called Uttar Pradesh.
Woolmer had his schooling in Kent and then went on to represent the county side. He made his debut for England in 1972 and went on to play 19 Tests and six ODIs. He was also one of the few players who was chosen in Kerry Packer’s breakaway World Series.
He went into coaching after retirement and did brilliantly at the job. He enjoyed successful stints with South Africa and then Pakistan.
Woolmer died under mysterious circumstances during the 2007 50-over World Cup after Pakistan shockingly crashed out of the tournament losing to Ireland.
4. Colin Cowdrey
Cowdrey was born on December 24, 1932, in Bangalore. Cowdrey’s father, Ernest Cowdrey too was a cricketer himself and had played for the touring MCC side in India. It is his father who taught him the game at a very young age.
Cowdrey moved to England when he was just five and took up the game in the county. He was the first ever cricketer to play in 100 Test matches, captained England 27 times and scored almost 43,000 first-class runs – 7,624 of them in the longest form of the game.
Overall he scored 22 hundreds in Test including the one he smashed in his 100th game. He also holds the record for being the first batsman to score a hundred century against all 6 contemporary Test playing nations – both home and away.
He was also a leg break bowler but never picked any international wicket. Following his retirement from the game, Cowdrey donned the hat of an administrator and served as Chairman of the ICC.
1. Nasser Hussain
One of the most flamboyant Indian-born international cricketers in recent times, Nasser Hussain was born on 28 March 1968 in Madras (now Chennai). He too was led into cricket by his father. They moved to England in 1975 and it is then that his game blossomed.
He was quite a successful school cricketer and later made quite a name for himself playing in the Under-17 and the Under-19s.
He made his debut for England in 1990 and went on to cement his place in the side. He took over the captaincy from Alec Stewart in 1999 and impressed everyone with his skills drawing comparisons with Mike Brearley.
Hussain amassed 5764 runs from 96 Test and 2332 runs from 88 ODIs. He is now a successful commentator.